Today I would like to share my CuddleBug baby wrap experience to the world. Please note… I’m not a great author, just a mom wanting to inform other moms about my experience with my baby wrap.
I know this is a long post, and is essentially a culmination of my knowledge about baby wearing, and my new found love for the CuddleBug baby wrap, but I’d really like to start with telling a story about my trip to Southern Germany with Samuel and my husband.
Please note** although I am quite in love with my baby wrap, I also bought a baby carrier with some more rigid structure for when Samuel gets a bit older. There are backpack carriers that can be used until the baby is like 2 years old, or more! Unfortunately, he’ll be too heavy for me to carry around by then, so I think my husband will be using the more rigid baby carrier much more than I. I must also confess that in my closet, I also have a Sling carrier, the kind with a ring, which my aunt gave me. I’ve used it a few times, and it’s simply precious, you can stare down into your babies eyes as he’s cradled in your arms, but when it comes to comfort and practicality, I find myself opting for the wrap almost every time, it’s just hard to beat.
Anyways, while I was packing I considered my heavy duty carrier, with the rigid mountaineering frame. I also considered the sling, which is adorable, but again not super practical. I ended up going with the most compact of the three, the wrap, which folds down into a bag the size of a coffee grinder. I wasn’t sure about the weather in Germany so I figured I’d “selflessly” pack the most “natural” carrier, and any space it saved for my wardrobe would be purely coincidental. It took up almost zero space in my luggage, and I couldn’t have been happier with the performance. We stayed with family right outside of the military base of Ramstein, and almost everywhere we went, was a castle! Fun day trips, very informational, but at the end of the day they’re big, cold, grandiose stone buildings that you wouldn’t want to spend more than 3 hours at unless you had to. I was SO ridiculously happy I brought the wrap. I didn’t need any sort of Everest Summiteering backpack (if that’s a word… google says no but I disagree). I was however, out long enough to need something that wouldn’t kill my back in exchange for a bit of ogling from German strangers.
I remember one specific moment, as I sat down on a cold stone castle wall sipping our delicious German coffees, that my back felt fine, and Sam hadn’t even been conscious since we started our tour, let alone cry his heart out. I remember realizing how great the day had been thus far, and realizing that twenty-four year old me wouldn’t understand, but as a new mom, sitting down, no back pain, sleeping baby, day touring a castle with your husband, AND a nice cup of coffee to warm your hands, what the meaning of a great day was. I obviously can’t thank CuddleBug for it, any more than I can thank my 2 euro cup of coffee, but I can tell everyone about it, in the hopes that they share my experience, or one similar to it!
Ode to Baby Carrier Purchasing
Oh baby carriers...how many choices you offer.
When my mother recommended to me a baby wrap, at first I didn’t know what to expect from something so traditional. Will it be hard on my back? Will it be a pain in the “you know what” to tie? So I started reading about baby wraps, about the ergonomics, if it’s safe for the baby, is it safe for me, will he fall out??!!? If I can summarize in simple terms the gist of what I read, when you are carrying your baby in a baby wrap, you are, in a way, repeating the conditions in which it was in the womb (body is somewhat restricted, but in constant motion with the mother). As long as you tie your wrap even 50% correctly, (insert legal disclaimer I don’t have here), there is no chance of him or her falling out, just watch the videos online and you should be fine. Tip: Make sure it’s snugger than you think you’d need for comfort and safety sake! The ergonomics are great, I won’t go into too much detail but it’s a super natural way for the baby and the mother to be. Humans and monkey’s have been carrying little ones on our chests for millions of years, so we’re both pretty well adapted for it! I also realized how very practical baby wearing is compared to something like a stroller, since it leaves both hands free to continue doing odds n’ ends while you literally cuddle with your baby.
What could be better?
So before giving birth I went out to buy a few baby carriers. The most important thing for me was ergonomics. I over simplified above, but if you want to do some research on your own, it’s pretty important! Oddly enough, there are many baby carriers on the market (of well-known brands) that are not embracing of, and do not respect the natural position of the baby. Baby wraps allow natural movement of the baby, while still restricting him/her somewhat (similar to a swaddle). This calms them down immensely, and keeps their body weight evenly distributed throughout their back, hips, and chest. For the mom, wear the baby tightly, walk with good posture, and you’ll be fine. The wrap distributes the weight of the baby all over your back, and hips pretty evenly, unlike some other carriers which focuses the weight on your shoulders. Both my sisters had babies recently, and they are in love with their Baby Bjorn 360’s. Don’t get me wrong, they’re awesome carriers, but they keep complaining about carrying their babies for more than an hour or so, and I simply can’t relate!! They don’t like wraps because they claim they’re too hard to tie, but when push comes to shove, I’m the only sister not B!***ing about my back hurting after an hour. I hope they read this and decide to at least try wraps out!!!
From my personal experience and research, there are a lot of baby carriers that brag about ergonomics: some with elastic waistbands, others have brand new “sling” technology, shoulder strap carriers, mei tai carriers, baby carrier backpacks, front carriers, etc.... I recommend that you investigate all these yourself enough because there really is so much to choose from, and a large portion of the decision is simple personal preference. Try not to buy into all the marketing however! Mom’s are easy targets, we want the best for our babies, so we are willing to pay for the best. The problem arrises when one company charges $200-300 for something that should really cost $20-$30, and us moms, trying to get “the best” for our babies stupidly pay it. I’m not saying all carriers for $300 are a rip off, but keep your eyes open Darling!
The good thing about the baby wrap, in my humble opinion, is that it can be used without problems from birth. It's super comfortable, it does not squeeze anywhere and the baby is going to be super close to you. The bad thing is that you have to learn how to make the basic knot. There are many videos on YouTube, and a few on the CuddleBug site, it’s easy to self-teach. It is true that it takes a few days to become a master of the wrap, although it’s not a tough process. I recommend getting the wrap before the baby is born, and practice with a puppy, pillow, or with a doll (I practiced a lot with my cat Ralph, he wasn’t a fan).
I use my wrap almost always when I'm working around the home, or when I have errands to run. Anytime I’ll be out of the house for more than a few hours, I’ll bring my stroller, as I just get too tired carrying around my now 25 pound Samuel for more than a few hours at a time. Maybe a more in-shape super mom could last a day at the zoo, but not me unfortunately.
Long story short, after much searching I chose the CuddleBug baby wrap, because it can be used from birth without using any adapters, and it’s affordable. The Ergo Baby, LÍLLÉbaby, and all the other $100 plus carriers out there are great, I have yet to hear any substantially negative things about any of them (except for my sister’s complaining in comparison to my own), but when it comes to bang for your buck, for a carrier under $50, a baby wrap is an amazing way to go. It easily competes on all levels with the $200 carriers, and really has no substantial disadvantages.
I love having Samuel always near me and the baby wrap makes that possible. Sometimes, this may sound funny, but he takes a nap while we’re doing our chores, and I feel like a little kangaroo mom, with my little kangaroo Joey in my pouch. While I organize his room, work on the computer or prepare dinner, every time that thought hits me I can’t help but smile and laugh a little! I started baby wearing with fear and insecurity, constantly worrying if the positioning was correct, if Samuel was comfortable, if I was straining my back ... but basically after the first week I got used to the process, and now not a single day goes buy where I’m not carrying Samuel, and thinking about kangaroos for some strange reason.
I hope my experience has been insightful to the new moms out there!